Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 443 out of 500
Accommodation: 181 out of 200
Food: 339 out of 400
Service: 347 out of 400
Entertainment: 85 out of 100
Cruise: 342 out of 400
Overall Score: 1737 out of 2000
Silver Spirit Statistics
Size: Small Ship
Cruise Line: Silversea Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9437866
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $250 million
Entered Service: Dec 2009
Length (ft/m): 642.3/195.8
Beam (ft/m): 86.9/26.5
Draft (ft/m): 20.9/6.4
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (26,100kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 8
Total Crew: 370
Passengers (lower beds): 540
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 66.6
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.4
Cabins (total): 270
Size Range (sq ft/m): 312.1-1,614.6/29-150
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 258
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 4
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
An upper-class, stylish ship for sophisticated cruising
Overview. This ship suits discerning, well-traveled couples, typically over 50, who are looking for a smaller ship setting with fine food and European-style service in surroundings bordering on the elegant and luxurious without being extravagant. Shuttle buses are provided in most ports of call, and all the little extras passengers receive make a cruise an extremely pleasant experience.
The Ship. Silver Spirit, larger than Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, is the newest ‘all-inclusive’ addition to the Silversea Cruises fleet - although ‘all-inclusive’ doesn’t include the two specialty dining venues. It represents a substantial investment in new tonnage. Sharing its name with a famous Rolls-Royce car, Silver Spirit has a similar profile to the smaller Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, with a nicely shaped stern with tiered aft decks, but exudes more style and provides more choice than the line’s other ships.
Although there’s a main pool and hot tub deck, there’s little shade, and no hot tubs on any other deck. Also, because there are so many balcony suites/cabins, there’s no walk-around outdoor promenade deck.
The interior layout has a cake-layer stacking of almost all the public rooms in the aft section, and the accommodation located forward, so there is minimal noise in passenger accommodation, although it means there are more stairs and no flow-through horizontal deck where passengers can parade. But regular Silversea Cruises passengers are used to this arrangement, and it’s good exercise. The decor is elegant and understated, but bland (muted colors), a mix of Art Deco and modern, but not contemporary.
The Observation Lounge, at the front of the ship with access from a central passageway, has fine ocean views, and is a very comfortable place to relax and read. A Panorama Lounge, at the stern, is a comfortable multi-function room. Non-smokers should note that smoking is allowed on the port side. A cigar lounge, with doors that open in to the casino, has a pleasing list of cigars. The casino has five blackjack tables, an American Roulette table, and 52 slot machines.
The company’s ‘all-inclusive’ fares include gratuities, drinks with meals, and many things that cost extra on rivals’ ships. Vintage wines, massage, and other personal services do cost extra, though. Passengers appreciate open-seating dining, cold canapés and hot hors d’oeuvres served in the bars in the pre-dinner cocktail hour, a captain’s welcome aboard, and a farewell cocktail party.
The passenger mix includes many nationalities, which makes for a more interesting experience, although most passengers are North American. Children are sometimes seen aboard, but are not really welcomed by most people.
Passenger niggles include the lack of electrical sockets in the cabins; there are almost no shaded outdoor areas; the butler service is sometimes poor, not least because each butler has about 15 cabins to look after.
Accommodation. Silver Spirit, like other Silversea Cruises ships, has ‘all-suites’ accommodation. Some suites can accommodate a third person. Eight have interconnecting doors, so families and friends can be adjacent.
Accommodation consists of: two Owner’s Suites, approx. 1,292 sq ft (120 sq m) for one bedroom and 1,614 sq ft (150 sq m) for two bedrooms; four Grand Suites in the front of the ship (990 sq ft/ 92 sq m for one bedroom and 1,302 sq ft/117 sq m for two bedrooms); two Royal Suites in the front of the ship, 26 Silver Suites (742 sq ft/69 sq m); 166 Midship Veranda Suites (376 sq ft/35 sq m); 50 Veranda Suites (376 sq ft/35 sq m); and 12 Vista Suites (312 sq ft/29 sq m). The Owner’s, Grand, and Royal Suites all have interconnecting doors for an available second bedroom.
All provide personalized stationery, a menu with a choice of eight pillows from soft down to memory foam, bathrobes, and an array of Bulgari bathroom amenities. All have walk-in closets with personal safe, TV set, DVD unit, and vanity desk with hairdryer. Suite bathrooms are marble-clad, with marble and wood floors, and contain a toilet, one or two washbasins, a full-size tub, and a shower enclosure with a fixed ‘rain shower’ and a separate hand-held hose). Occupants of the Owner’s Suites or Grand Suites receive unobtrusive service from 21 butlers certified by London’s Guild of Professional Butlers.
The suites have recessed lighting in the ceiling - a nice touch that allows a little diffused mood lighting when needed. Balconies have sliding doors that can move if not securely locked when not in use. Non-smokers should be aware that Silversea Cruises allows smoking in cabins.
Dining. There are certainly plenty of dining choices. The Restaurant is the name of the ship’s main dining room - a light, airy venue, although its design is quite disappointing - in particular because of its low ceiling height. It seats up to 456, and has an integral dance floor. This is all about open-seating dining in elegant surroundings, with unhurried, unobtrusive service. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; tables are set with fine china, silverware, and Riedel wine glasses. For complete privacy, meals can also be served, course-by-course, in your suite.
Other dining options. Le Champagne, adjacent to The Restaurant, is an intimate, extra-cost, reservations-required, dinner-only venue offering a six-course mini-dégustation menu based on Relais & Châteaux menus. Sadly, the banquette seating along the outer walls detracts from the otherwise very comfortable, uncluttered, intimate dining spot, which has a small walk-in wine room as its central, focal point.
Seishin Restaurant, also adjacent to The Restaurant, is an extra-cost reservations-required venue, with just 24 seats. It serves Kobe beef, sushi items, and Asian seafood, and an octagonal display counter is the focal point to the venue. It is open for dinner only, and there’s a cover charge.
La Terrazza is the venue for self-serve buffet-style items for breakfast and lunch. Each evening, it turns into an Italian-themed dining spot, with waiter service and regional Italian cuisine cooked to order. Reservations are required for dinner (not open for lunch).
Stars Supper Club, with 58 seats and a dance floor, is designed in the manner of an English supper club of the 1920s to provide an intimate, club-like ambience and all-night entertainment - which means volume-intrusive. Reservations are required for dinner (not open for lunch).
The Pool Grill is a casual outside eatery serving steaks, seafood, and pizza. Pizza cannot possibly be considered a luxury food item, but then, this is a ship with Italian connections. Meals are served on hot stones that act as plates, so you can’t touch them, but this is more a casual eating novelty than proper dining.
Additionally, a lobby bar serves Lavazza Italian coffees, wines, spirits, and pastries.
Entertainment. The Showlounge, in the aft section, has a main stage and two ancillary side stages. It seats about 320 passengers, and there are good sight lines from all seats but no beverage service. It’s a lovely room, and seating consists of two-person love seats, and each has a small table for personal items such as ladies’ clutch purses for formal evenings. Production shows have been re-introduced, and these, together with cabaret acts, provide a balanced entertainment program.
Spa/Fitness. The Spa at Silversea, with 8,300 sq ft (770 sq m) of space, is quite large for this size of ship, and includes a sanctuary for total relaxation and detox. Located at the stern of the ship, one deck below La Terrazza, it is a haven for me-time and personal treatments.